Course Policies

General Education

All UA students complete general education courses in the arts, sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Honors students have access to a unique Honors General Education structure, which allows greater flexibility in the courses that can be used toward general education requirements in the three study areas of Traditions and Cultures/Humanities, Individuals and Societies, and Natural Sciences. Although they will complete the same number of general education courses as non-Honors students, Honors students are able to place a greater emphasis on Tier II courses. Rather than needing to complete two Tier I and one Tier II course in each of the three study areas, Honors students have the option of taking just one Tier I course and two Tier II courses. Students should talk to their major advisors to determine what general education courses they need in order to complete their degree requirements.

The Honors gen ed structure is optional. Students may choose to use this option for just one or two of the gen ed study areas, while following the traditional non-Honors structure for the other area(s).

The Honors College offers a wide variety of tier I and tier II general education courses under the HNRS prefix. Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in Honors general education courses.

Students who withdraw from Honors will maintain eligibility for the Honors general education sequence.


1. Students who enter the Honors College with a 30 Honors unit requirement may fulfill up to 12 units through contracts, with a maximum of 6 lower-division units. Students who enter the Honors College with a credit reduction to 24 required Honors units may fulfill up to 9 units through contracts, with a maximum of 6 lower-division units. Students who are granted a credit reduction to 18 required Honors units may fulfill up to 6 units through contracts, with a maximum of 3 lower-division units. Exceptions apply to engineering majors; see below.

2. Students in the College of Engineering may fulfill a total of 6 Honors credits through a contract if they enter The Honors College with less than 60 transferrable units. Students who enter with 60 transferrable or above can contract a maximum of 3 units for Honors credits. College of Engineering courses may not be contracted for Honors credit.

3. Contracted courses may not be taken Pass/Fail.

4. House-numbered courses, including internship, independent study, directed research, and preceptorship, may not be contracted.

5. Instructors are required to determine whether the student has completed the terms of the contract by the same date grades are regularly due for the course. “Incompletes” are not permissible for Honors Contracts, unless the student is receiving an “Incomplete” for the course and has obtained prior permission from The Honors College. No grade is given for the contract.

6. The work assigned as a result of the Contract should not determine the student's final grade. That is, the fact that the student is working for Honors credit does not guarantee a high grade. Final grades should reflect the quality and content of all of the student's work in the course.

7. Only faculty members may sponsor a Contract. Students turning in Contracts signed, or largely supervised, by a teaching assistant or other non-faculty member (without prior written permission from The Honors College) will be denied Honors credit for the course. Students in courses run by a teaching assistant or other non-faculty member may make arrangements to contract with a supervising faculty member.

8. Courses that are regularly offered as Honors courses or with Honors sections (ex: Freshman Composition, Calculus), Winter Session courses, study abroad courses, and language skills courses (101-202), are not available for the Honors Contract.  

9. Courses that already offer an honors section or that are being offered with a co-convened graduate section are not eligible for honors contracts.

10. The Fall 2019 Contract form is available here.

Individual Studies

1. An Honors individual studies course, including independent study (X99H or X92H), internship credit (X93H) and preceptorship (X91H) should be qualitatively different from the non-Honors individual studies normally undertaken in the department or discipline. Even in the laboratory setting, The Honors student taking an Honors section should be doing demonstrably different work than students registered for a non-Honors individual study.

2. This difference, indicating that the experience is worthy of The Honors designation, and therefore of a grade, should be indicated and described on the required departmental registration form.

3. This "demonstrably different work" will vary depending upon discipline, but in general should mean not additional assignments, but a deeper, more challenging and more intense engagement with the subject matter or work of the independent study.

4. Faculty in individual departments shall determine, along with their colleagues in the discipline, what this specific and more challenging work shall be, but in general it might involve some or all of the following: engagement with theory, closer and/or more frequent contact with faculty members and/or principal investigators, interrogation of underlying assumptions and received wisdom, more advanced engagement with the material, faster progress through the curriculum for the course, etc.

5. Only active university Honors students should be registered for Honors independent study.

Special Considerations for Independent Studies Credit:

Honors independent study work will provide a depth and intensity that exceeds the scope of a regular independent study. As such, honors independent study credit provides a letter grade that is included in the cumulative GPA, as opposed to non-honors independent study which is graded on a pass/fail basis.

Special Considerations for Internship Credit:

If an internship is aligned with a student’s major or minor, the student should seek Honors credit through that academic department. If the internship takes place in a field outside of his/her chosen major or minor, the student may be eligible to earn Honors credit through The Honors College. Internships originating in The Honors College (HNRS 193H-493H) include different and additional requirements which may include:

  • Identify and read a (scholarly) book pertinent to the internship.
  • Keep a journal throughout the tenure of the internship.
  • Use the book and journal excerpts to inform a 7-10 page paper that reflects on the internship.

Special Considerations for Preceptors:

Honors preceptorships should reflect a depth and intensity of work that exceeds the scope of a non-Honors preceptorship. Whether assisting during a lab course, running study sessions, or supporting a professor directly, Honors preceptors should be required to exceed the standard preceptor duties, primarily by the addition of an intellectual, academic or research component. In addition to the preceptor’s standard duties, Honors preceptorships might include the following components:

  • An assignment that includes both research into and analysis of information relevant to the preceptoring duties.
  • An assignment in self-reflection, which might include a portfolio or journal.
  • An in-depth study into a specific area of the discipline upon which the course is based, requiring The Honors student to engage more intensely with the material than the non-Honors preceptors.
  • Engagement in the study of theory appropriate to the discipline.
  • Assessment of the learning outcomes from the assignments listed above would occur through an individual presentation to the class where the preceptorship is conducted, a panel presentation by several preceptors to the class, or a report submitted to the professor.
  • Additional research or reading from which the student writes a 5 - 7 page paper that relates to the preceptorship experiences.
  • Regular meetings with the faculty member in charge of the course in order to assist students in self-reflection and self-assessment.

First Year Seminars

A one-credit First Year Seminar (HNRS 195H, 195I, 195J, and 195K) is required for all first-semester freshmen in the Honors College. Seminars topics span the social sciences, sciences, humanities, and fine arts. Students are required to enroll in a seminar during their freshman orientation program.

Non-Honors Students

Students who are not active in Honors may not enroll in honors courses or sections including Honors independent studies, Honors contracts, Honors sections of general education, and any other Honors courses. The exceptions to this policy are English 109H and certain lower-level math courses. Ability to take these courses is based on placement scores rather than Honors College enrollment.